An article on The Daily Beast about The Newsroom's treatment of female characters. Contains major spoilers for episodes 1-2, minor ones for episodes 3-4.
I just saw episode two, and my overall feelings go like this: there's a Newsroom that Sorkin is showing us, and then there's a Newsroom that Sorkin is telling us about, and I like the first Newsroom very much. There are a couple of mental edits I've made to the "telling" parts to bring them more in line with the "showing" parts. If I have to do that more and more as the series goes on, it's going to be less and less enjoyable...but hey, I made it through the last series of Glee, and it's not like this can be harder.
(1) When Sloan goes into her "There are a lot of people more qualified -- I can put you in touch with some of my professors" bit, Mackenzie's reply is, "Your professors don't have your kind of stage presence. They aren't good enough to change what's in the prompter on the fly without missing a beat. We need someone who knows about economics and knows how to do the news."
(2) In the end, when Maggie's giving her tipsy ramble in the bar, she says "Mackenzie is trying to do something great here, and I want to be a part of it." No mention of Will.
Because The Newsroom Sorkin Is Showing Us Goes Like This:
-- Women in top positions are competent and qualified. Guys who mock them as shallow or only valuable based on looks get smacked down, by other guys, with reminders of their qualifications. They have PhDs; they have battle scars. They've earned this.
-- Will isn't trying to do anything great. He's being dragged into something great, moaning and struggling all the way, by better people -- mostly Mackenzie. Everyone in the office understands this.
-- Mackenzie is the only person in the office who idealizes Will. In spite of her good judgment in other areas, she's thrown off here by guilt for cheating on him once upon a time, and it helps that she hasn't been in close proximity to him for several years. Everyone else there knows better. They don't think he's a dick because they wrongly assume he cheated on Mackenzie; they assume he cheated on Mackenzie because they rightly assume that he's a dick.
Miscellaneous Other Observations
-- I loved Mackenzie's presentation at the whiteboard so much. So much. "So think of it as an acronym. I, I, I. That's not very helpful, is it." "Was just gonna say that." All my hearts.
-- The dialogue is really really fast. Is it faster than Sorkin's previous shows, or has it just been too long since I last watched one? Speed itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in this case, there are jokes that go by so quickly you don't have time to be amused. You catch them, you briefly recognize that they were supposed to be funny, but there's already another line demanding your attention before you have a chance to laugh.
-- OLIVIA. OMG HI OLIVIA. Flawless delivery is flawless. If I could only ask for one thing from this show, it would be to please not screw Sloan up.
Would love to hear everyone else's reactions!